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Energy & Utilities’ Skills Accord goes live

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Energy Global,

Following the completion of a successful year-long pilot trail, the Skills Accord has been authorised to proceed to full operational roll-out. The Skills Accord initiative is promoting structured and sustained investment in the technical and operational skills the sector needs most, and doing this via commitments in company procurement.

The pilot was led by five members of the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership: Amey, National Grid, SSE, Thames Water and UK Power Networks.

Launched at the House of Lords in October 2016, the Skills Accord was designed in response to the challenge set by the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, which recognised the potential for leveraging procurement to generate investment in skills across the supply chain.

In order to meet the requirements of the Skills Accord, signatory companies must reach the following five commitments:

  • To address sector-wide skills gaps & shortages. Contribute to a 5% sector target based on company requirements.
  • To promote signing up to the Accord through the supply chain. Encourage suppliers to become signatories and agree training targets.
  • To promote relevant skills development across the supply chain through procurement. Develop and deliver responsible procurement practices through the supply chain on skills delivery.
  • To continuously improve performance. Continuous improvement of signatories’ sustainable skills and training interventions.
  • To monitor and report. Annual review and reporting of company and sector performance relevant to the Skills Accord.

The Skills Accord is one of the core initiatives identified within the Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy, published in February 2017.

The Skills Strategy found that 221 000 vacancies will need to be created across the energy and utilities sector during the next decade. These vacancies will be made up of 100 000 existing employees who will retire, 90 000 who will move to jobs outside the sector, and another 31 000 that will be required to fill newly-created roles.

Nick Ellins, Chief Executive at Energy & Utility Skills, said: “The Skills Accord has been built by the energy and utility sector to increase its investment in workforce resilience, and to directly meet the training and upskilling challenge set by HM Treasury in its National Infrastructure Plan for Skills."

“The Skills Accord is one part of the wider Skills Strategy created by the UK’s utility businesses, to ensure the continued delivery of critical infrastructure and essential consumer services right across the UK. The pilot study showed clearly that close collaboration through procurement can increase investment in the skills the sector needs most, and especially in the vital supply chain. This is vital as the Skills Strategy works to fill the expected 221 000 roles that will be needed over the next ten years.”

The steering group behind the Skills Accord are now actively recruiting more sector employers. Five further ‘lead companies’ from the utilities sector have already signed up as the initiative moved from pilot stage to full operation.

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